Western Snowy Plover population status and recovery

Tracking the road back for this threatened shorebird

The charts below show recent population trends of the Western Snowy Plover. Breeding season survey data is available to download below for California, Oregon, and Washington starting in 2005. Data is based on an annual “window survey” that extends from the latter part of May, through mid-June. USFWS narrows the survey down to the extent possible to reduce the potential for double-counting, while still catching the peak of the breeding season. Only adult birds are counted.

Winter survey data is available for California starting in the winter of 2003-2004. Winter surveys are conducted in early January.

Surveys rely on volunteers! – consider helping out by going to our volunteer page (here).

Download population data:  

The final recovery plan for the Pacific Coast Population of the Western Snowy Plover, completed in 2007, is available from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Click below to download (in Adobe PDF format):

In May 2012, the USFWS revised the Critical Habitat designation for coastal California, Washington, and Oregon.  It can be downloaded here ( Maps and other information are available at:

In summary, this revision increases critical habitat from 12,150 acres to 24,527 acres of coastal beach-dune ecosystem habitat along the Pacific Coast essential to the survival and recovery of the snowy plover. The USFWS states that critical habitat, as defined by the Endangered Species Act, “identifies geographic areas containing features essential for the conservation of a threatened or endangered species, and which may require special management considerations or protection. Designation of critical habitat does not affect land ownership, establish a refuge or preserve and has no impact on private landowners taking actions on their land that do not require federal funding or permits. It is also used to notify other Federal agencies of areas that must be given special consideration when they are planning, implementing, or funding activities that may affect designated critical habitat.

Other links:

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Western Snowy Plover page:

Arcata Fish and Wildlife Service Snowy Plover site (including annual site reports by state):

How you can help, right now